Life on the farm is never ever boring especially with donkeys living in the Pacific Northwest with too much rain. We have been having record amounts of rain in the Pacific Northwest, Western Washington and this moisture always causes problems for our sweet Mammoth donkey. All of our equine Lily, Rio and Rocket Man live in the same environment with excellent drainage, 3/4 gravel to stop mud and pin chips to lay in and stop mud and yet in the six years we have had the equine Rio is the only one to get a foot abscess.
Why do the gentle giants (Mammoth donkeys) get more abscesses?
I am sorry to share no one really knows the answer to this, I can tell you from networking all over the world no Mammoth donkey is immune to getting a hoof abscess. Owners in New Mexico, Arizona and on and on have had Mammoth donkeys with abscesses. It is heart breaking but just part of owning any equine as all equine can get an abscess. The good news is by soaking the foot in epsom salt and poulticing the abscess should pop and disappear on its own. If it does not pop then the vet has to cut a hole in the hoof giving the equine instant relief but the hole takes 1 year to grow out as this is how long it take a hoof to grow out.
Saturday morning we went down to the barn to find our sweet mammoth donkey Rio lame, not able to walk and he had a large lump on his leg, a large lump on the leg is not good in the equine world. I immediately started praying to Jesus for this to be a sprain and nothing more and then I called the vet.
Turns out when a mammoth donkey stands on his toe his large bone sticks out making it look like it is swelling but this was not the problem. Rio was starting to get an abscess in his back hoof, something we are used to as he has had many in the past never any on the rear hooves. We shoe his front hooves as this has stopped the abscesses for two years now in the front.
“Remember donkeys do not show any pain until it is unbearable as they are stoic and strong so if your donkey get diarrhea, quits drinking, can’t walk you need to get a vet out to help asses what is wrong.”
What do we do for an abscess?
We soak his foot in Epsom salt and warm water for 30 minutes twice a day and I make a home-made poultice with sugar and bedadine solution and then my husband makes a home-made custom boot made out of white cotton soft padding and lot’s of duc tape. We use gorilla duc tape on the bottom as he can not dig thru this tape. Rio is a digger he likes to look for roots and can dig 3 and 4 foot long holes.
Want more information on hoof abscesses?
Maggot therapy is used in extreme conditions, you can avoid this in most cases with diet, exercise and trimming correctly every six weeks in the spring and summer and seven in fall and winter. The hoof growth speeds up in the warmer seasons.
Please if you own a donkey or know a donkey who is unable to walk help this donkey by calling the vet or starting the soaking and poulticing. Additionally we give our donkey pain medicine from the vet until the pain is gone usually just a couple of days.
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!